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The next generation of lasers transform dentistry
Placed by : Looking for Dental 20-06-2007
June 18, 2007
From erasing fine lines and wrinkles to correcting eyesight, medical uses for lasers have offered new hope to patients seeking both cosmetic and necessary medical treatment.
Up next, laser dentistry.
Drs. Wade Clayton, Robert Hastings, and Drew Mefford of Hastings and Clayton Family Dentistry in Bartlett claim the distinction of being the first dentists in the Memphis area to offer hard- and soft-tissue laser dentistry as an option for patients.
"We strive to incorporate changes in technology," Clayton said.
Clayton, Hastings and Mefford use Waterlase MD developed by BIOLASE Technology. The machine uses water energized by a laser to painlessly cut through gums and teeth.
Traditionally, dentists use drills to perform dental procedures. Drills produce heat and friction that disturb the nerve within the tooth, causing patients pain. Waterlase MD, however, does not produce heat or friction, so there is little or no need for local anesthesia with the laser.
The Waterlase machine carries a pretty large price tag at $80,000, but to the dentists of Clayton-Hastings the cost of the machine is outweighed by its benefits to both patient and dentist alike.
"It makes me feel like the quality of my work is better," said Clayton.
According to Clayton, the laser provides higher quality work that looks better and lasts longer than traditional methods.
"Patients really like it. They are interested in the technology," said Clayton. "There is less pain, less need for local anesthetic, less pain after procedures, and less anxiety ..."
Patients also experience less swelling and bleeding during the procedure.
When they tested the Waterlase machine at the Thomas P. Hinman Dental Meeting in Atlanta, they decided to bring the technology to Memphis.
Waterlase can be used to remove mouth ulcers, remove and shape gum tissue, and biopsy oral tissue suspected of being cancerous. It is also used in cavity preparation.
While they have had the Waterlase machine for some time, Clayton, Hastings, and Mefford did not want to immediately announce it publicly.
"We wanted to make sure that all our systems are running properly," Clayton said.
Improper use of Waterlase can lead to thermal tissue damage or pain. They have now performed procedures using Waterlase frequently and Clayton reports that they have not encountered any problems.
Laser dentistry is only one of the many procedures offered to patients at Hastings and Clayton. They perform cosmetic procedures, including zoom whitening and veneers, along with traditional dental procedures. They all say cosmetic dental services are a growing part of their practice.
Clayton, Hastings, and Mefford are also offering digital X-ray. This technology produces less radiation and does not use film.
Hastings and Clayton have been working together for nine years. Mefford joined their practice two years ago.
"The doctors and staff work very hard to provide our patients with the best care dentistry has to offer," Clayton said.
-- Ashley M. Bailey, 529-2533